Williams making case for Caltrans to install traffic signals at Highway 20, Interstate 5

Changes are inevitably coming to the highway interchange connecting Interstate 5 and Highway 20 in Williams – but the city is trying to build a case that it shouldn’t be the one footing the bill.

With the incoming Love’s Travel Stop and further development planned along Marguerite Street, the future plans for the area include adding traffic signals to mitigate the cumulative traffic impacts created by the new development. As it stands, the city would be on the hook for installing those to address the hazardous traffic situation.

“With the stop coming in, the future plans call for those on- and off-ramps to be signalized,” said Frank Kennedy, city administrator. “Caltrans wants us to bear the burden of installing those.”

That cost would then have to be passed down, forcing the city to develop a system for collecting fees from all of the developers along Marguerite St., Kennedy said.

Williams is hoping avoid such a situation. The city doesn’t believe it should bear the financial burden of putting traffic signals in, primarily because a hazardous situation already exists in the area. In order to prove it, city staff has compiled a list of crashes on Highway 20 between E St. and Husted Road, and has submitted that list to Caltrans.

Since May 2015, the city lists a total of 15 accidents on Highway 20 between E. Street and Husted Road. Of those 15 total accidents, all but three of them occurred on the off- or on-ramps for Interstate 5. June 2016 was the worst month for accidents on the interchange, with a total of four accidents. Three of those accidents occurred on the northbound off-ramp, and one on the southbound off-ramp.

“The fire department came to me and said that place is getting dangerous. We put together list of all accidents on the on-ramp and off-ramp of I-5 there,” Kennedy said. “…they will need to be signalized due to hazardous conditions, but those conditions exist now. We’re trying to say that they shouldn’t wait for those truck stops and other businesses to come in before something is done.”

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Brian Pearson is the Managing Editor & Reporter for the Williams Pioneer Review. Brian joined the Williams Pioneer Review in June 2016 and is committed to bringing hyperlocal news to its readers. A few of his projects include reporting on local government and the newly feature sports page. To contact Brian about this article, or for future articles, please email him at brian@colusacountynews.net